Art Review: Renaissance to Goya @ British Museum

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 75 months ago
Art Review: Renaissance to Goya @ British Museum
Head of a monk, 1625-64, Francisco de Zurbaran (1598-1664). Drawing, 277 x 196 mm. Copyright of the Trustees of the British Museum
Head of a monk, 1625-64, Francisco de Zurbaran (1598-1664). Copyright of the Trustees of the British Museum
For being of Jewish ancestry, 1814-24, Francisco Goya (1746-1828). Drawing, 205 x 142 mm. Copyright of the Trustees of the British Museum
For being of Jewish ancestry, 1814-24, Francisco Goya (1746-1828). Copyright of the Trustees of the British Museum
St Albert tied to a tree, 1626, Jose de Ribera (1591-1652), Drawing, 232 x 170 mm. Copyright of the Trustees of the British Museum
St Albert tied to a tree, 1626, Jose de Ribera (1591-1652). Copyright of the Trustees of the British Museum
The Archangel Michael, 1655-60, Bartolome Esteban Murillo (1618- 1682). Pen and brown ink, 268 x 189 mm. Copyright of the Trustees of the British Museum
The Archangel Michael, 1655-60, Bartolome Esteban Murillo (1618- 1682). Copyright of the Trustees of the British Museum
An Algerian woman, Jose Camaron (1731-1803). Drawing, 214 x 149 mm. Copyright of the Trustees of the British Museum
An Algerian woman, Jose Camaron (1731-1803). Copyright of the Trustees of the British Museum
Figures Dancing in a circle from Los Disparates, 1816-23, Francisco Goya (1746-1828). Print, 245 x 355 mm. Copyright of the Trustees of the British Museum
Figures Dancing in a circle from Los Disparates, 1816-23, Francisco Goya. Copyright of the Trustees of the British Museum

Room 90, hidden away in the top floors of the British Museum, is dedicated to showcasing the vast collections of drawing and prints held by the museum. Previously it was home to Picasso's Vollard Suite which met with much critical acclaim.

The latest exhibition attempts to debunk the myth that the Spanish Golden Age in arts was only about painting. The museum has assembled a vast collection of works that include preparatory drawings for paintings and architecture, but also several impressive pieces that stand alone.

As well as featuring relatively well known works by Velazquez and de Zurbaran's meditative monk, there are also several less familiar yet accomplished artists on display such as Zuccaro with his rapid and emotive style.

Despite the wide variety of artists, Goya's works are the standouts of this exhibition. His creepy caricatures populating macabre scenes are just as intense as his paintings. Though they will never match the scale of his greater works such as Saturn Devouring His Son, they are miniature windows into his various dark realities.

The exhibition is an impressive collection of talented artists but it's the spectacular Goyas that are the must see items of this show.

Renaissance to Goya: Prints made in Spain is on at the British Museum until 6 January. Admission is free.

Last Updated 23 September 2012